Calvert coach Todd Fox called it a must-win.
Carey coach Todd Worst didn't go that far.
But with Calvert and Carey getting off to slow starts, a loss Saturday at Frost-Kalnow Stadium could be critical to either's playoff hopes. Calvert sits at 1-4, 1-1 in the Midland Athletic League.
"We look at now with our remaining schedule, everything's a must-win," Fox said. "We have to be committed to that and committed to making ourselves better each week. I know Carey must feel the same way; they're in a little better position than we are, and they're a great football team."
Like Calvert, the Blue Devils dropped their first two games of the year. But Carey has rebounded with three straight wins, and is 2-0 in the MAL.
Maybe the only surprising thing about the Blue Devils' winning streak is how they have done it. For decades a wishbone, run at most costs offense, Worst has opened up the playbook and incorporated an aerial attack.
Never was this better on display than last week against St. Joe, when quarterback Matt Holsinger threw for 263 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Jared Wentling had more than 100 yards.
But Fox isn't convinced it's a complete change in philosophy.
"Coach Worst isn't going to go away from what he is great at or what the Carey Blue Devils are about," Fox said. "Their offense is phenomenal. I've always been admirer of their run game and what they do, how they attack. They're just able to open up defenses to the pass game because if you don't commit to stopping that run game, they'll run all over you.
"It's been very beneficial, they have some great playmakers this year. Again, it's the same old Carey football team, a great, fundamentally sound football team."
Calvert's offense has been running well, but has been hindered by turnovers. It had five in last week's loss to Seneca East.
"If you want to look at last week's game, specifically, we gave up two touchdowns on turnovers, then we gave up three more turnovers on top of that, and we lost by six," Fox said. "Then there were silly penalties, to boot. Take nothing away from (Seneca East), but we've got to stop beating ourselves. That's our biggest enemy right now.
"If everything comes together, we'll feel like we're in paradise, without turnovers," Fox said.
The Calvert coach said he expects the Blue Devils to be tough on defense.
"I don't know if (Carey's defense is) any different this year from last year, they're just aggressive," Fox said. "Hard-nosed, blue-collar kids that come at you each and every play, so we have to be ready to go."
Worst said the Blue Devils will focus on the Calvert running game.
"Make sure you've got the kids in good position so they can make a play," Worst said of the approach. "Sometimes it's a tedious process," he said. "Obviously we're gonna try to take away the run first, but that's everybody's goal."
Worst said it will be a tough game.
"The past few years, it's always been physical," Worst said. "You can go back more than a few years. Another tough physical matchup, third week in a row where we've had a more physical opponent than normal."
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday.